Fijian Sailing Frolics!

To sail and frolic around Fiji’s 332 pristine tropical islands and 522 smaller islets, invokes images of crystal-clear ocean waters, and gently swaying palm trees, but for many, is a mere pipe dream…

But to sail on a 52′ yacht owned by your very good friends from long ago is an incredible opportunity and one not to be missed, and exactly what I indulged in for a fleeting moment in 2015!

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away…

Fully provisioned at Denarau, it was finally time to set out on the long-awaited sail…

Denarau, Fiji, Oceania

Day 1 to 3 – Musket Cove (Malolo Lailai Island)

Musket Cove, Malolo, Fiji, Oceania

After a 12NM sail slightly northwest of Denarau, we arrived at a gorgeous little spot, which is fairly protected – always important to have a good night’s sleep on a boat.

Afternoon sea breezes usually calm down here by mid-afternoon, so a good night’s sleep is possible.

A tiny airstrip sees light planes come and go a couple of times a day on this small dot in the Pacific Ocean. If a light plane isn’t for you, then why not take the high-speed boat from Denarau Island?

At low tide, picturesque surroundings reveal shallow and accentuated turquoise waters, which become a deeper blue the further out you go – just gorgeous.

Musket Cove, Fiji, sailing
Musket Cove from shore

After sailing on a boat, island walks to stretch your legs are a must here. So take a walk around this small island (it’s not too far) or for a good workout, try the hills.

This island also offers snorkelling, reef walking, and water and wind sports.

There are many secluded beaches to get away from other tourists but be warned, this is a child-friendly island so many children grace the whole of the island – skinny dip at your own peril!

Musket Cove, Fiji, sailing
Idyllic vista – I really need to invest in a wide-angle lens to do these vistas justice!

An expensive grocery store is open on the island from 08:00-20:00hrs but if you’re prepared to pay around AUD$10 for a 200g packet of chips (crisps), then go for it. Sadly, my budget doesn’t allow for this type of extravagance.

Musket Cove, Fiji, sailing
Not so quiet anchorage…

As the wind is blowing around 30Knots today, only ventured to shore for a quick walk. This managed to end up in meeting other yachties with an invitation for Sundowners later at the bar – who needs an excuse?

Musket Cove, Fiji, sailing
The serenity

Speaking of bars, there’s a barge called Cloud 9 out on a reef a couple of miles from this anchorage. Surrounded by turquoise water, apparently, it’s a two-level floating platform with an internationally stocked bar. There’s also an Italian wood-fired pizzeria out there.

You can either dinghy to this bar or catch a boat from Musket Cove, arriving in style to buy some very expensive drinks. Cloud 9 lives out there in the sea permanently. Once you’re out there, water sports are also on offer, as is more drinking.

Long Tip:

The rule is if you visit an inhabited island, you must visit the appointed village headman (chief) first for the Sevusevu acceptance into the Fijian village. You must bring Waka (Kava: a mildly narcotic drink made by mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant with water).

Once you meet the chief and he chants a little blessing that you cannot understand, of course, you’re free to anchor at the island and walk where ever you wish.

These days, you need to bring at least Waka worth USD$20 a bottle. Something to keep in mind if you’re cruising around Fiji for a while visiting many islands whilst receiving many blessings. This could become very expensive, very quickly.

Apparently, drinking Waka gives a numb sensation around the mouth, lips, and tongue; and a sense of relaxation. Waka has been a tradition on many islands for an age. I did try some, although I had no sensation of any kind, whatsoever – perhaps I didn’t drink enough?

Day 4 to 5 – Robinson Crusoe Island (Likuri Island)

About a 17NM sail from Musket Cove (south of Denarau) and although a low-key resort island, you can easily circumnavigate this flat island on foot in about half an hour. Of course, there’s still a bar here – there’s always a bar.

Although this island’s original name is Likuri, many of you will have only heard its recent name: Robinson Crusoe Island.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, Oceania

This name stems from 1651 when a sailing boat was wrecked on a nearby reef. The captain and his cat took refuge on the island. Coincidently, the cat’s name was Friday (not a good omen). And so, the story of Robinson Crusoe was born.

A sailing superstition: it is bad luck to leave port on a Friday. Nothing is mentioned about leaving port with a cat named Friday though!

Cultural show on Robinson Crusoe Island

The cultural show on Wednesday and Saturday nights (FJD$25 meal + show), is definitely worth watching.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Cooking our dinner – the traditional way, followed by walking over those same hot coals

Not only for the mesmerising island dancing but more for the exciting fast-paced fire dancing…

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Gorgeous dancers

…which is quite spectacular.

It’s a treat with male and female dancers partaking in Polynesian, Tahitian, Melanesian, and other island dances.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Flame dancing

Fascinating to watch these skilled talented fire dancers and quite hypnotic.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Synchronised flame dancers

Many Australians stay on this island but also on show nights, tourists are ferried in from Nadi or surrounding islands.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Gorgeous smiles

If you feel like splashing out, check in to the eco-cultural budget resort.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Beautiful dancers

I’m not sure about the cost but it’s supposed to be pretty good.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing, water jet pack
The finale! Apparently, this is the first time in the world a water jet pack has been tried with flames!

Day 6 to 8 Back to Denarau

Small rolling seas whilst sailing the 22NM back from Robinson Crusoe to Denarau, although a light breeze made the sail very pleasant.

Fiji, Oceania

Not anchored even 10 minutes outside of the marina, we hear a Pan Pan call from a yacht, which is sitting on a reef.

Not a good place to be, especially with a falling tide.

After small dinghies tried to help without any luck and no power boats offering to help (the marina is full of them), we decided to weigh anchor. Motored out to see if we could pull the boat off the reef.

Almost got there when we saw a tinny (small aluminium boat for non-Australian readers) manage to drag the boat off the reef.

Photo: Tehani-li underway

Not very comforting to know that if you are out there in the same situation, larger boats wouldn’t come to your rescue. Not the rule of the sea either.

Day 9 – Rurago Bay (Waya Island)

After the stopover at Denarau for more supplies, set sail again for an easy 35NM sail in a westerly direction and bound for Rurogo Bay, Wayasewa (Waya) Island.

Yasawa Group, Fiji, Oceania

This island is part of the Yasawa Group archipelago and our playground for the next 5 days.

Lovely light breezes and at last, the sun decided to come out and play!

Map: Sailing the Yasawa Group

Six main islands and numerous smaller islets form the Yasawa group, which is volcanic in origin and very mountainous. With peaks ranging from 250 to 600 meters high, there are some majestic vistas and backdrops when sailing past.

Waya Island, Fiji, sailing
Beautiful bay

This is the island where we’re expected to arrive bearing gifts of Waka and then to be blessed in return by the chief. Taking tea and cake with the locals in the village is very lovely.

Waya Island, Fiji, sailing
S/V Domino

Gorgeous walks on this island.

Waya Island, Fiji, sailing
Karel takes the lead at a cracking speed on the walk to the other side of the island
Waya Island, Fiji, sailing
Octopus Resort – Likuliku Bay

Enjoy a long stroll right across the other side for more spectacular views…

Waya Island, Fiji, sailing
Resort life – Likuliku Bay

…and meeting some very cheeky locals.

Waya Island, Fiji, sailing
Cute locals

Day 10 – Blue Lagoon (Nanuya Sewa Island)

Another lovely morning sail of about 25NM from Rurago Bay to the gorgeous and famous Blue Lagoon.

Rurugo Bay, Blue lagoon, Fiji, sailing
Fijian blues

Most of the islands in Fiji boast a resort of some sort…

Rurugo Bay, Blue lagoon, Fiji, sailing
Paradise – I can get used to this!

…on almost every beach with activities, spas, and much more.

Blue lagoon, Fiji, sailing
Construction site with a view

The Nanuya Resort is quite small and runs totally on solar power I believe – definitely a good thing.

Blue lagoon, Fiji, sailing
Blue Lagoon

What doesn’t look great is the fake grass along the bar restaurant and running along the waterfront pathways to the resort – a tad tacky.

Fiji, sailing, sunset
Blue Lagoon – gotta get a sunset shot in!

Day 12 – Natuvalo Bay (Navitis Island)

A 15NM sail from the Blue Lagoon sees us anchored in beautiful Natuvalo Bay. Although the wind abated, it is still overcast and quite chilly.

Only an overnight stay here as suddenly, time is chugging away and I don’t have many days left.

Day 13 – Kanu Passage (Naviti Island)

A short lovely 5NM sail to the passage between Barefoot Manta Island and Naviti Island for a snorkel in the afternoon with Manta Rays, sees us anchoring in Drawaqa for a couple of hours.

The Rays are very famous here and religiously arrive to feed between May to October, on the plankton-rich waters in this channel – about 2 hours after high tide.

We don our wetsuits and take the dinghy to the spot, which is easy to find as there are already a few dinghies dotting the surface with snorkellers in the water.

Excited, I jumped in and tried to swim to the Manta Rays – impossible against the strong current.

Deciding to motor upstream of the Rays and jump back in, it isn’t long before both rays gracefully glide by – incredible!

Both came very close and are not scared at all. I’ve seen larger black Rays in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands although today’s are much smaller and of a greyish colour. Still, very beautiful and majestic – so humbling to be so close to these wild creatures and very memorable.

After some amazing snorkelling and zipping back to Tehani-li, the skipper and crew had to free up the anchor as it became tangled in the reef.

Motor-sailed the 10NM to Yalobi Bay (Wayasewa Island) and anchored for the night, which is a gorgeous quiet bay and anchorage with a tiny local village along the shore. A quick walk to stretch the legs before dinner, drinks, and settling in for another lovely evening.

Yalobi Bay, Fiji, sailing
Shrouded Yalobi Bay

Day 14 – Denarau again

As I fly back to Australia for the return UK journey tomorrow, sadly, the skipper sets sail for the 30NM back from Tokato to Denarau in a light breeze and shrouded sullen overcast day.

Blue lagoon, Fiji, sailing
Our salty skipper with friendly locals

With a flat sea, the sail is smooth and not a bumpy ride at all and quite a relaxing sail for my last day out.

Leaving Fiji

Sadly, it is finally time to say a heartfelt goodbye to my good friends and the gorgeous Tehani-li, which is their home for around ten years now.

Had such a great time catching up and the hospitality is always wonderful. I nick-named Tehani-li the Boatel as she sees a constant stream of visitors from around the world staying onboard.

After a last quick coffee and Sushi lunch at Lulu’s caught the local bus into Nadi.

Buses here provide a great service, usually running on time and cheap. A few Fijian dollars will get you a bus from the town centre to the airport.

Nadi Airport

The Duty-Free shopping at Nadi’s airport is expensive and limited, which may be a result of the current renovations.

Finally, the Virgin plane took off, not too late and now on my way to the UK via Australia.

A very long trip ahead of about 37 hours door-to-door. Hopefully, this trip won’t be as bad as the Cathay Pacific journey of 52+ hours door-to-door!

Looking forward to the new travel chapter and adventure around Europe in Reg (motorhome) for a while, I hope.

Visit my Nilla’s Photography Galleries for more images. More Fiji travel posts at Image Earth Travel.

If you’re also interested in reading more sailing stories, check out my Caribbean posts.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji, sailing
Island faces

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30 responses to “Fijian Sailing Frolics!”

  1. equinoxio21 Avatar

    Got Phil… Nice post.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you! It’s an old one on the old WP so the formatting is mucked up, but we’ve already spoken about WP woes. 😉

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Yep. Such is life… 😉

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Indeed it is – WP!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for the re-blog China.

  2. Lisa Dorenfest Avatar

    How lovely to see you aboard Tehani-Li in Fiji! I was sailing these same waters in 2015 but missed you by 1 month. I met Karel and Phil in Fiji for the first time in September 2015 and have enjoyed their wonderful company in many an anchorage since.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      What a shame we missed each other!
      Such a small world – when I read that you were in South Africa, I was sure you must of met Phil & Karel as the cruising world is very small. 🙂

  3. Anna Powaska Avatar

    Amazing photos, especially series with fire.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Anna. A little difficult to take as I don’t use a flash on my camera and some of the dancing was very quick.

  4. wanderlustandlifestyle Avatar

    Amazing photos! Makes me want to be back in the sunshine Xx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Me too…I’m currently living in southern Italy and was in Rome last week for the snow! 😉 x

      1. wanderlustandlifestyle Avatar

        I’m extremely jealous… Scotland is freezing just now and awaiting even more snow!! Xx

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Fiji was back in 2015. I’m in Southern Italy and it’s also cold here. x

      3. wanderlustandlifestyle Avatar

        Southern Italy still sounds better than Scotland.. even if it is cold! Xx

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha probably is as it’s not as cold. The last time I was in Scotland was in 1985! Solo backpacking and hitching in the northern part en-route to the Orkney Isles.

  5. Kristen Avatar

    It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and
    it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you
    some interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read even more things about it!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your suggestions but I only write about where I’ve been. I will write more on Fiji when I travel there again. 🙂

  6. Uncover Travel Avatar

    Great post and great shots! We visited Fiji 15 years ago and this brings back wonderful memories!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you! A gorgeous part of the world and glad my post/pics brought back some great memories for you…makes it all worth while!

  7. Aurora Avatar

    Awe-inspiring photos! Loved this post!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for taking the time to comment!

  8. SitaRasa Avatar

    What beautiful pictures everywhere on your site, so inspiring! Wow, you’re so productive; what a marvelous life you have! It’s so nice to be a part of it, while visiting here – and thanks for the likes 🙂 Xxx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for your kind words and glad you enjoyed my site!
      I don’t feel productive. I’m about 9 months behind with posts. I find it hard posting when I’m still on the road.
      Your site is lovely and your artwork beautiful! 🙂 x

  9. The Year I Touched My Toes Avatar

    I need to bookmark this page as I would love to go back to Fiji one day. The island hopping looks lovely. I drank waku ( kava) once – revolting stuff- the small amount I tasted made my tongue go numb.
    The photos make you realise how many different blues there are in the sea and sky. Louise

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Excellent! So many islands to explore and sadly, so little time.

      Yes, the Kava is revolting stuff. It’s not particularly appealing when they wash it through a grubby looking cloth in a big bowl before serving it up to you…I’m sure the cloth is clean.

      The blues are amazing but not unlike the Great Barrier Reef and islands scattered throughout this reef! Many thanks for your comment.

  10. Mark Avatar

    Love your pics and love your stories!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Mark! Glad my posts keep you entertained… 😉

  11. Lorraine Collins Avatar
    Lorraine Collins

    A very enjoyable read with lots of interesting facts if you were thinking of visiting and lovely photography. Would love to visit this beautiful island one day!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your kind words!
      You must try and visit one day as apart from being gorgeous, there’s loads of activities to enjoy!

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